Today I’d like to pay tribute to Mississippi poet Besmilr Brigham (1913-2000). I first read the poetry of Brigham in New Orleans at a time when Bill Lavender was editing Another South: Experimental Writing in the South (2002). Noting the paucity of women poets of innovative persuasion in the preliminary list for the anthology, I searched for them – and of course they were there all along. Their submissions arrived in time for several to be accepted.
Although Brigham wasn’t included in the anthology, which was intended only for writers “currently living in the South,” my search introduced me to her work, for which I’m grateful.
Below, I’m reproducing one of her poems from Run Through Rock: Selected Short Poems of Besmilr Brigham, edited by C. D. Wright (Lost Roads Publishers, 2000). I hope that doing so will encourage others to seek out and appreciate her poetry.